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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » How much commission for privat persons and for agencies (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Memory-Jah
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I know it may differ from country to country but I need to know how high a conmission should be. Not only to an agency but to privat persons who hold good contacts, too. If I get to do magic at a wedding due to someone and he can get those jobs occasionally at least, how much % goes to such a person in general. I also know a person who runs an agency and I would like to work for this person.But because I have no Idea whats usually charged I do not want to get ripped off. How much should go to an agency in general?
Do I pay this from my actual payment I collect or do those people usually throw their commission fee on top of what I am asking for a job?

This is very important to me right now and I hope someone with some experience or knowledge can chime in here. Any help is greatly appriciated.

Cheers,
Markus
"Dropping your pants while you set off flash paper may allow your pass to go undetected, but it's still not invisible." - Count Elmsley
Dick Oslund
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Hello Markus!

In the "old days", agents found "work for acts", nowadays, many agents find "acts for work".

First! One does not work FOR an agent!!! The agent works FOR YOU! (He's a "broker".)

The days of 10% are long gone. My agent in Chicago had a sign in his office: "CLUB DATES--NET.....CIRCUS TOURS--10%" We had agreed on an in town "club date" fee of, for example: $500. Out of town dates were subject to negotiation. He would add his fee (commission) to my basic fee. (He "bought" me at "wholesale", and sold me at "retail"

I often picked up the check from the client, and sent it to him. He would send me a check for my "share". He played fair! His commission was fair.

So, visit your potential agent. Discuss with him the sort of work that you are willing to do (and, qualified to do!) He's a businessman. He has expenses, just as you do. Quote your fee. He may say, "That's more than the clients I serve will pay for an act. So, Negotiate! Much depends on how many magicians (for example) are available in your area! --or, how "different" you are.

"Vest pocket agents" (i.e. people who are not licensed agents, but have contacts with clients can certainly be negotiated with!

I hope this helps. The late Charlie Edwards (busker in England) was asked how much he 'got' for a show. Charlie replied, "I get what I'm worth!"

I'm retired after 45 years doing school assemblies (Lyceum). Fees for such are a bit less than club dates, or much less than corporate trade shows!, but, the work was steady. My manager would "guarantee" to fill 35 weeks.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Memory-Jah
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Thank you for all the information. A question to help me understand better. What is a club date?
When Ou say 10% days are long gone. Does this mean you should offer people who can get you gigs more than that? If yes: whata approlriate? At least 15 or at least 20%?
"Dropping your pants while you set off flash paper may allow your pass to go undetected, but it's still not invisible." - Count Elmsley
BrianMillerMagic
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Maybe I can help here. Not to disagree with you Dick, but the agent doesn't work for you. The agent works for the person or venue looking for entertainment. That is the agent's client. The agent has a roster of entertainers, and it is his job to find the right entertainer for his client. It's not his job to find you work.

Most agents take 20% these days. If you find a good agent/agency, they will add the 20% on to the fee that you establish you want in your pocket and basically do what Dick said: buy you at wholesale, sell at retail.
Memory-Jah
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VERY helpful. Thank you very much both of you!
"Dropping your pants while you set off flash paper may allow your pass to go undetected, but it's still not invisible." - Count Elmsley
sjbrundage
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Quote:
On Aug 21, 2015, BrianMillerMagic wrote:
Maybe I can help here. Not to disagree with you Dick, but the agent doesn't work for you. The agent works for the person or venue looking for entertainment. That is the agent's client. The agent has a roster of entertainers, and it is his job to find the right entertainer for his client. It's not his job to find you work.

Most agents take 20% these days. If you find a good agent/agency, they will add the 20% on to the fee that you establish you want in your pocket and basically do what Dick said: buy you at wholesale, sell at retail.


Spot on Advise!
Dannydoyle
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Wel there is unfortunately no one answer here, and you being in another country really makes it tough to answer.

Here is the thing. (Yep from Chicago can you tell?) Getting caught up in percentages may or may not be a good thing. Without knowing what he provides for that percentage it is a blind answer. Do you have to provide your own promo material and maintain your own web page? Does he actively sell you or wait for the phone to ring? How much overall work and in the end money does he gain for you? Are you just one of a great many magicians he represents?

All these questions and a lot more will determine your correct answer. If he takes 30% and gets you so much work you make twice as much as with the guy taking 20% after everyone has been paid then the higher percentage is the way to go.

A percentage in many ways is blinding and in many cases meaningless when you have questions to get answers to. Don't get caught up in the number but in if you cn live with the resulting income. That is the number at the end of the day that really matters.

I have seen guys get caught up in this and turn down work and opportunities and wonder why they are having trouble with paying bills.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Bill Hegbli
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Quote:
On Aug 21, 2015, Memory-Jah wrote:
Thank you for all the information. A question to help me understand better. What is a club date?
When Ou say 10% days are long gone. Does this mean you should offer people who can get you gigs more than that? If yes: whata approlriate? At least 15 or at least 20%?


You just changed your question. "offer People" is very different then working with an agent. If you want know what to give someone that give you leads for possibly obtaining work, then you give them whatever you think the lead is worth to you. And you can give him more if you actually book the lead. In some countries, this is illegal, and is considered bribery. So there is fine line, as in what you may be actually doing is giving a "kick back" to say an event planner for a company or hotel banquet room booker. This can be a conflict of interest in some cases.

If you are talking about a real entertainment agent, then he will add his fee on top your agreed fee that you will perform work for thought him. In most cases, I have found, the agent will not tell you this figure. Of course, you will find out if the client gives you a check to give to the agent. Don't be surprised if the amount he adds on, is as much or more then your fee. As mentioned, you give the check to the agent, and he gives you your agreed upon amount for your service.

Meaning of the word "Club", as in a night spot that usually offers entertainment, music, dancing, and liquor for people to socialize. Not many these days, but they have them in Europe. In America, they went out of business, and only a few places remain, that we call "Comedy Clubs" now.
Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Aug 21, 2015, BrianMillerMagic wrote:
Maybe I can help here. Not to disagree with you Dick, but the agent doesn't work for you. The agent works for the person or venue looking for entertainment. That is the agent's client. The agent has a roster of entertainers, and it is his job to find the right entertainer for his client. It's not his job to find you work.

Most agents take 20% these days. If you find a good agent/agency, they will add the 20% on to the fee that you establish you want in your pocket and basically do what Dick said: buy you at wholesale, sell at retail.


Hi Brian!

Good statement! I think I "over simplified" in trying to be brief!

Most of my work was booked by Lyceum Bureau MANAGERS. (i.e. not AGENTS) A Lyceum (school assembly) manager would book me for a SEASON, not just one date. His percentage was often 40%! --But, he filled the season. (September through May! The more dates he booked, the more money we both made.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Memory-Jah
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Did he add the 40% on top of your price or have you had to work for 40% less but it was still profitabel because of the quantity of gigs?
As an off topic question: did you do all those shows at the same school? Wasn't it too repetitive or did you actually have million different shows?

Cheers,
Markus
"Dropping your pants while you set off flash paper may allow your pass to go undetected, but it's still not invisible." - Count Elmsley
Mindpro
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More than likely they tell you what the gig pays (net to you) and they charge over and above that to the purchaser.

Also "work for 40% less" is subjective? Less than what? Less than your "normal expected rate that we self-create/impose for ourselves?" We as entertainers shouldn't create a false reality of what our prices are as they are nothing more than ideals we create and but in our heads for ourselves. They aren't true reality for anyone, perhaps other than yourself and I have yet to meet one entertainer that even if they have created such "pricing numbers" in their heads, won't fluxuate in a variety of given circumstances and markets. By doing so we only establish boundries that create limitations for ourselves.

I can make $5,000 a day at trade shows, but if I was approached to perform at resorts or cruise ships they would laugh at such pricing. You would be pricing yourself out of such opportunities by creating these false and fabricated boundries.

In Dick's example, it's really quite simple. His "self-determined price" could be whatever, $400, $600, $1200 per gig, it doesn't matter. When a booker, producer, manager, or agent calls up and says "I've got 200 school bookings for you, each paying $200", it's a take it or leave it situation. As I said earlier, you shouldn't care what they're charging/making, it is what is being offered to you.

Your simple job is to decide yes or no. SOOOO many times I see entertainers and speakers getting hung up on the wrong things, the wrong questions and really trying to over complicate things. This is what's being offered, yes or no, will you accept?

If you are good enough to work with agents and agencies they expect AF rates anyhow, again, your self-imposed pricing only is creating limits for yourself. I hope this perhaps better explains it.
Memory-Jah
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Excellent post, I agree, but ther eis one other factor to be considered: At some points you need to have to establish a certain value. You do not want people to ask you why your gig cost 500 at place A and 1000 at place B. You are trying to establish a value for you don't you? Or how do you handle this?
"Dropping your pants while you set off flash paper may allow your pass to go undetected, but it's still not invisible." - Count Elmsley
Dannydoyle
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Do you think it is your price that establishes your value?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Memory-Jah
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No but since very often you get recommended by former clients who sometimes know each other, its strange to charge more or less on different venues. Your example was that a trade show can afford 5k but other venues cannot and would laugh about this price. So my question was how you justify to your clients that you did the same show somwhere else not for 5k but for only 2k
"Dropping your pants while you set off flash paper may allow your pass to go undetected, but it's still not invisible." - Count Elmsley
Dannydoyle
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I do not sell based on price. I do not justify my price to anyone. I cost what I cost and one can afford it or not. I do not negotiate I do not compete with others based on price.

When I am hired it is because someone wants to hire me specifically not "a magician" or "a hypnotiist".

If someone wants me that is the cost. No justification needed.

Your mileage may vary.

By the way I gave no such example.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Aug 25, 2015, Memory-Jah wrote:
No but since very often you get recommended by former clients who sometimes know each other, its strange to charge more or less on different venues. Your example was that a trade show can afford 5k but other venues cannot and would laugh about this price. So my question was how you justify to your clients that you did the same show somwhere else not for 5k but for only 2k



I made the statement and perhaps you are misunderstanding it. There is a different in charging different prices for different VENUES (as you mentioned) as compared to having different pricing for different MARKETS (performance markets).

Trade Shows, high-end corporate events and other professional markets may often pay greater prices accepted as more normal, but other markets, including consumer markets have acceptable rates that would be far less. As a professional performer it is up to you to know and understand these differences and have prices accordingly.

Also a performer should never try to be "all things to all people", which also means trying to work in all types of markets. I always recommend picking and specializing in only a market or two (I do have some possible exceptions to this rule) and of course everything you do - promo, marketing, business, specialized performances and of course pricing should be tailored to suit.
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